Apparently tourist season is over! Just yesterday, each town we passed was bustling with people. Crowds of tourists spent their sunny afternoons eating gelato and milling about little surf shops, purchasing brightly colored beach accessories and souvenirs. Today everything was vastly different.
As we passed through perfectly manicured sea-side villages, we were amazed by how they were completely devoid of life. We likened it to a horror movie featuring zombies or a freak plague that wipes out all the inhabitants, leaving homes and neatly-trimmed lawns untouched. It was eerie but we definitely enjoyed the peace and quiet.
Around noon we passed a deserted campsite; rusty trailers were still lined up in neat rows, but there were no people. It was deathly quiet. We stopped at an empty, closed restaurant just down the road from the ghostly campsite and had lunch on their patio tables before continuing along our route in search of a beach.
After an uneventful day of riding we settled down to relax in the town of Tarquina Lido. The restaurants were closed, houses boarded up, and apartment windows covered with white shutters. When I asked a lone woman walking by where all the people were, she said "Finito! Tourist season is over." The owners of these second homes have migrated back to Rome for the winter, she explained, leaving a freakishly empty city in their wake.
The woman also balked at seeing us wet from a swim in the sea ("Mama mia!") and could not believe that we would brave the late-September waters (even though the ocean was just as warm as it was yesterday when tourists flocked to the beaches).
For camping tonight, we are going to set up on the concrete patio of a boarded-up restaurant, in a little nook overlooking the ocean. I feel doubtful anyone will be around to mind.
Here are some photos of leaving our ocean side free-camp this morning: